The Christmas Story

Gerard_van_Honthorst_001

It was a busy Advent season when the piano player, a kind and soft spoken older lady, called to schedule a meeting with me.

Her: Pastor can we talk?

Me: Sure, what’s up?

Her:So the Christmas story.  Did that actually happen like it says in the Bible?

Me: Sure it did, why do you ask?

Her: Well, I’ve just been so busy lately… and with everything that’s been going on in my family… I’ve just had a hard time seeing as a fact of history.  It seems to me that… it’s a story… you know like… a story.

Me: You know, I can understand that. It certainly has mythic feel to it.  There are lots of fantastic elements to the nativity story that it can feel so story-ish that it becomes hard to believe.  But we have to remember that’s how the ancient people wrote history.  They didn’t think of history like you and I did, just dry facts and stats.  Rather, they saw history as “His-story”, the story of God.  When they wrote these things down they wanted to make sure you’d be impressed, that you would listen, and that you would believe. This doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, but rather the “story” feel to it was intentional.

Her:Huh… I guess… that kinda makes sense…

Me: The most important thing to remember is that Jesus came for us.  How and when that happened maybe a bit confusing.  But Jesus was born at some point, and died on the cross for you and me.  It’s ok if you see Christmas as “just a story”, the rest of his life is what’s really important.

Her:You know I think I’ve just been to worried about my family, and soooo busy.  I’m sure when things settle down, I’ll feel better.

This person has been going to church for well over 30 years. Clearly they have serious doubts, as they should.  I wonder how long it took them to get the courage to talk about it.

The deflecting of doubt, as if it was caused because of busy they were, caught me off guard.

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